Operators Wrestle With Third-Party Tee Time Operators

Digital Golf Pass is a game-changer but what game is it changing? For several years now, the golf industry has wrestled with the impact of third-party tee-time aggregators such as GolfNow and TeeOff. As has been detailed in places like the The Wall Street Journal, course owners and operators are less and less impressed. Why? In exchange for use of the proprietary tee-time software and a place on these sites, courses provide aggregators one tee time in barter each day. (That’s the one really cheap tee time you see listed, per course, per day, on these aggregator sites.) But golfers who play a $75 course for $15 don’t come back; aggregators don’t share that golfer’s contact info with the course he played (so the course can’t remarket to that golfer); and even non-participating courses tend to pop up on these sites in a variety of mysterious, bait-and-switch capacities. Golfers like discounts, and so GolfNow in particular has so far proved popular. But one cheap tee time per day serves only the tech-savvy few.

That’s where DGP comes in. We serve both constituencies. Course operators love Digital Golf Pass because it’s an online/mobile platform where the deals are crafted by course operators themselves. This is why DGP deals are so consistently good — and bountiful. Check out our deals here at www.digitalgolfpass.com and compare: Region to region, we have the most courses, the most deals, the best discounts, and the largest play windows. DGP plays the longer game: It allows golfers to save with every round they play, at hundreds of different courses in their region, all season long.

What happens next? Well, it’s been a slow boil but things are heating up: Last summer, the National Golf Course Owners Association issued a set of 10 best business practices these tee-time aggregators should follow. The PGA of America quickly endorsed them, yet GolfNow and TeeOff still comply with only half (DGP complies with all 10). With every passing day, course operators are getting wise to the devil’s bargain they’ve entered into with aggregators; with dynamic pricing tools like DGP at their disposal, they are leaving the fold and getting their own tee-time reservation software. As Golfweek reported on Feb. 15, “the NGCOA and PGA [have] formed Golf USA Tee Time Coalition, which will provide education for course owners, operators and PGA members and monitor compliance of third-party online tee-time providers... A compliance officer is on the verge of being hired, and a hotline to report violations of the NGCOA guidelines is in the works. The coalition can’t enforce its standards, but it can shame those who receive failing grades by publishing an annual scorecard.” Stay tuned.

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